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May 26, 2020

OpEd: The IOC Stands in Solidarity With All Athletes and All Sports

Much has been written lately about the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s finances. Some of these…
May 26, 2020

Stellar example Duncan teaches art of adaptability

Marcus Duncan knows how to adapt to different circumstances. While other athletes have suffered because…
May 24, 2020

Chow remains focused Olympic rower trains harder during lockdown

For Team Trinidad and Tobago’s top rower Felice Aisha Chow, being defeated by the circumstamces…
May 23, 2020

TTOC President Lewis claims cancellation of Tokyo 2020 would put NOCs in "a big hole"

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) President Brian Lewis claimed the cancellation of the Tokyo…
May 22, 2020

Lewis: Olympic cancellation not good for NOCs

Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee says a great number of National Organising…
May 18, 2020

Mother of invention Athlete Talks, Ultimate Garden Clash born out of Covid-19

I could not have imagined how excited I would get watching on my computer screen…
May 18, 2020

Lewis: We need a culture change

SELF REFLECTION and culture change during the current downtime are the primary elements which can…

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The tra­di­tion­al gov­er­nance struc­ture un­der which most na­tion­al gov­ern­ing bod­ies and Olympic Com­mit­tees op­er­ate aren't stand­ing up to the de­mands of the con­tem­po­rary sport.

Sports or­gan­i­sa­tions are for the most part not-for-prof­it as op­posed to be­ing a for-prof­it busi­ness. A for-prof­it busi­ness is cre­at­ed to serve the in­ter­ests of its share­hold­ers.

As such they op­er­ate to max­imise share­hold­er re­turn on in­vest­ment and most strate­gic de­ci­sions are made with this in­tent fore­most in mind. Share­hold­ers own a for-prof­it busi­ness.

They may not play a ma­jor role in the run­ning of a com­pa­ny but are able to vote on cor­po­rate mat­ters such as who sits on the board of di­rec­tors and oth­er sig­nif­i­cant mat­ters.

A not-for-prof­it such as a na­tion­al sports or­gan­i­sa­tion (NSO) serves the in­ter­ests of stake­hold­ers who may have vary­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of what ben­e­fits they should re­ceive.

No one per­son or group own a not-for-prof­it or­gan­i­sa­tion, in­di­vid­u­als in a po­si­tion of pow­er or in­flu­ence with­in a sport are tem­po­rary stew­ards or cus­to­di­ans, there to pro­tect the best in­ter­est of the sport and pass the ba­ton on to the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers and de­ci­sion mak­ers. In a re­al sense the con­cept of mem­ber­ship, rather than own­er­ship is at the root of the sports gov­er­nance mod­el.

The mem­bers of an NSO are not the own­ers of the gov­ern­ing body in the same way as share­hold­ers own a for-prof­it com­pa­ny. In essence, all mem­bers play a crit­i­cal role in the de­vel­op­ment and de­liv­ery of sport which is a ma­jor dif­fer­ence to share­hold­ers.

All of the mon­ey earned or do­nat­ed to, a not-for-prof­it is rein­vest­ed to pur­sue the or­gan­i­sa­tion's pur­pose and the ob­jec­tives as ar­tic­u­lat­ed in the or­gan­i­sa­tion's con­sti­tu­tion.

The dif­fer­ences be­tween for-prof­it and not-for-prof­it are sig­nif­i­cant. Adopt­ing best prac­tice meth­ods from the cor­po­rate world may very well ig­nore the nu­ances of a sports or­gan­i­sa­tion. These nu­ances ought to be ac­knowl­edged when adopt­ing cor­po­rate gov­er­nance best prac­tice. It's im­por­tant for mem­bers to read their sport's con­sti­tu­tion.

Prob­lems arise when there is an over­lap be­tween man­age­ment is­sues and strate­gic gov­er­nance. It's not un­usu­al for an NSO's con­sti­tu­tion to al­low mem­bers to vote on mat­ters which should be un­der the con­trol of man­age­ment. This ham­pers the man­age­ment abil­i­ty to ef­fec­tive­ly ex­e­cute the or­gan­i­sa­tion's strat­e­gy.

Giv­en well-pub­li­cised con­tro­ver­sies, the im­por­tance of con­sti­tu­tion­al re­view and re­form is in many cas­es an ur­gent and on­go­ing pri­or­i­ty.